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Modernist Informatics – Literature, Information, and the State - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Modernist Informatics: Literature, Information, and the State

James Purdon


Between steam and cybernetics lies a missing phase in the history of information culture. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, national governments and writers of fiction alike began to take an interest in information not simply as fact, nor yet as effortlessly transmissible data, but as an unusual and destabilizing new phenomenon. For some writers, such as Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford, “information” came to represent not effortless transmissibility but rather an interruption of meaningful communication. For others—such as Elizabeth Bowen—such interruptions were themselves ways of ma ... More

Keywords: modernism, surveillance, information, war, Britain, Joseph Conrad, Elizabeth Bowen, Ford Madox Ford, Mass-Observation

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780190211691
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190211691.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

James Purdon, author
Research Fellow, Jesus College, University of Cambridge